Gustav Becker Serials "Monkey see, monkey do?"

Discussion in 'General Clock Discussions' started by Anvil2k9, Jan 24, 2020.

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  1. Anvil2k9

    Anvil2k9 Registered User

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    #1 Anvil2k9, Jan 24, 2020
    Last edited: Jan 24, 2020
    It would seem everbody copy+paste links and refers to the well known serial list found on the web via google.

    Even decent sources themselves show this list but do not reference it at all.
    I am aware of this list since donkeys years, never trusted it and still don't know where
    it came from.

    Worse, Kochmann's "Gustav Becker Story" is more confusing than helping.
    Total numbers in all years shpuld have add up to more than 10 million until
    1923 (see page 11, annual production). See attach (Admin, please remove if it affects copyright laws).
    Even so, latest serials are limited to around 2.5 million.

    On top, no differentiation as such - Schlesien, Braunau (allegedly reset to #1, anybody ever
    seen at least a two digit Braunau one?) or which movements those numbers apply to i.e.
    whether Wall clocks, Hall clocks, which used by Kienzle after GB was dissolved, etc.

    Anybody may clarify or best, someone is proud owner of Tran Duy Ly's pricy book and may clarify
    this mess with a reliable reference out of?

    Thanks for reading.
    Michael Damian

    gbTotals1923.jpg
     
  2. Anvil2k9

    Anvil2k9 Registered User

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    My bad, please replace
    "...which used by Kienzle after GB was dissolved"
    with
    which used by Junghans after GB was dissolved
     
  3. chimeclockfan

    chimeclockfan Registered User
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    As with other subjects pertaining to German clock manufacturing, research is still ongoing which means the latest findings in horological history have not always been published yet. Will this research ever be complete? Probably not. Do we have experts dedicated to undertaking said research no matter how difficult & time consuming it may be? Yes. Do we strive to ensure the factual credibility and validity of said research, even if it means making previous publications obsolete? Sure. Do we appreciate being blown off because our research has not yet been published in any book, new or old? No, not really.

    Tran Duy Ly's book is primarily a compilation of Gustav Becker catalog material (and a very good one at that). Another book worth considering would be the Lexicon der Deutschen Uhrenindustrie 1850-1980 by Hans-Heinrich Schmid, though no English version is available. Though they may be elusive, you might want to check out old copies of Der Uhrmacher Zeitung.
     
  4. jmclaugh

    jmclaugh Registered User

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    It seems your query about Becker serial #s remains unanswered and if it exists I don't really understand why it hasn't been published. Any book can have flaws but that doesn't make the whole book flawed.
     
  5. KurtinSA

    KurtinSA Registered User
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    John Hubby has done some extensive work on dating Becker clocks. He has posted that up to about 1900, Kochmann's data is reasonable but still needed to be adjusted. After 1900, he indicated it was seriously wrong. John has worked with old factory data, publications of the time, as well as clocks found that have pedigree info with it to provide a very tight production date. He says that his date info comes from a database of 2500 clocks. All this has resulted in a much finer graduation of production dates.

    Post Your Gustav Becker Clocks Here

    Kurt
     
  6. Anvil2k9

    Anvil2k9 Registered User

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    #6 Anvil2k9, Feb 2, 2020
    Last edited: Feb 2, 2020
    Cheers Kurt,

    your link is exactly reflecting my concern.

    John is without a doubt a giant.

    Even so, "developed from a database of 2.500 clocks" is neither stating which method
    used to fill the huge unkown gaps with serials nor is this alleged reference traceable for
    third parties in any way e.g. with some images.

    Rather a matter of trust than a reliable source which I am not happy with because I am scientist.
     
  7. KurtinSA

    KurtinSA Registered User
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    I don't profess to know all the details how John got to this point in dating the clocks. But I understand the idea of the "wanting to know" as I'm a retired aerospace engineer. Without having lived in those times and worked for GB, the hard details will never be know. John worked with the two end points of the company production, soft dates from catalogs and industry publications, and slightly harder dates from known purchases and sales receipts...possibly a bit more data. All fairly fuzzy I'm sure. Then he probably added in some assumptions and maybe accounted for WWI or economic factors. In the end, I suspect that he did a curve fit to smooth things out.

    I extracted the serial numbers per year for Freiburg from John's work. I manipulated them into chart that shows the resulting production rates by year. Generally it's pretty smooth, showing production ramping up over time and reflecting the war years and the slowness to get back into production. Seems reasonable.

    Kurt

    GBProdRatesFR.jpg
     
  8. Anvil2k9

    Anvil2k9 Registered User

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    Kurt, you may do this (pedantic corner: unreferenced) table with Kochmann figures also.

    Will look similar, John will state it wrong though.

    "Seems reasonable" too then but that is still an assumption which never proves a "crime".
    No matter how nice you worked with maybe wrong figures, they will stay false ones.

    What's needed are decent visible anchors over the times like by invoice, receipts, trustees et else.
    If John got some of them I wonder why he doesn't share at least some to prove his point.

    Take care
    Michael Damian
     
  9. Anvil2k9

    Anvil2k9 Registered User

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    Well, giving the smart arse is one thing, contributing the way wanted another.

    So, to give you folks an example of what I have in mind and John should have done
    in my opinion:

    Just the movement, no cases - they vary and may distract from the basic aim.

    But fGs, I cannot prove it datewise as I claim it from you!

    There ain't GB catalogs prior 1912 (the latest I got) in the web, no ancient photos,
    no museum walk throughs where someone may have taken a picture and put it
    on flickr or else. No chance to encircle the decade.

    So back to square one then - the "famous" LISTs either from Kochmann or John.

    Classical Catch 22.

    174463b.jpg
     
  10. new2clocks

    new2clocks Registered User
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    Michael,

    IMO, John Hubby is the only person to adequately address your questions and points.

    As I write this, John has not read this thread.

    Regards.
     
  11. Anvil2k9

    Anvil2k9 Registered User

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    This is not a matter of asking an expert's opinion, new2clocks.

    Its questioning the beaten tracks resp. the common sense of all of you!

    Should have done that many years earlier, did not bother until I noticed
    some members I chatted here in the past have left the planet.

    My aim is not leave the youngsters taking over from us and
    keep on missing the boat same we did and my thread here is about.

    Hope, John is in a good shape still, even so - I don't expect him
    to dignify me with a response at all.

    Take care
    Michael Damian
     
  12. leeinv66

    leeinv66 Moderator
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    Really? I'm not reading anything you have posted here that counters what John Hubby has written on the subject. All I am reading is you saying because you are not privy to the exact methods used to collate the data, you don't believe it. Seems more like what someone would expect from Don Quixote than a scientist. What alternative data do you have and how did you collate it?
     
  13. chimeclockfan

    chimeclockfan Registered User
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    I was reminded of those squirrels on Wikipedia who screech endlessly about citations and footnotes yet do nothing in their power to undertake any research on their own. Not sure whether his status as a "scientist" is laughable or cringeworthy since scientists traditionally relish in original research and studies rather than laying on paperwork.

    If you cannot accept us NAWCC members' ongoing research and dedicated studies then I don't know what else to tell you. John Hubby has more knowledge of Gustav Becker in his left thumb than you do altogether, and your ignorance of his and others' expertise is appalling. Have a nice day.
     
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  14. shutterbug

    shutterbug Moderator
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    It would appear that there are two clear choices. Either accept the research that exists, or reject it and set out on your own research to factually debunk it.
    It would appear that you just want the existing lists destroyed so no one in the future will be misled. That's not too sensible in my eyes.
     
  15. Anvil2k9

    Anvil2k9 Registered User

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    For the latter two kicking my teeth:

    It took 1000 years to get the Earth out of the middle of our solar system be until
    someone dared to contradict Ptolomy and the popes.

    There is nothing wrong at all with questioning things despite giants
    may have established them for a long time. That is the aim here, nothing
    personal at all you obviously feel the itch to derail the basic question
    for evidence.

    Also, if they deserve to be called scientist they'd rather bored of unreflective claps
    and their shoulders than challenges to widen their and our horizon. Called size.

    Yet again - "Research" without decent reference/validation of data given is sleights of
    hands in the first place. Green elephants on the moon do not become true either just
    because an audience cannot disprove it.
     
  16. Walt Wallgren

    Walt Wallgren Registered User
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    I've been sitting on the sidelines, minding my blood pressure, but this is nuts.

    To begin with, you "question" is historical not scientific. When I was in school, I was taught that the "scientific method" consisted of 4 parts: hypothesis, experimentation, results, conclusion. What Karl, John, and any others who are attempting to put together a manufacturing time line are doing is to search for elusive historical data to piece together so they make enough sense to get as close a possible to estimating the production numbers of a particular clock maker for a particular time. In virtually every case there are no production records and finding a production year on the movement is rare. In fact, off the top of my head, I can only remember 2, Gilbert and Junghans, who stamped dates on the movements. (There could be others, but those are the only 2 I can think of right now).

    Many of the things we know were discovered by accident. Several years ago while I was working on something else, I came across a clock with an unknown logo on its movement. It also had a patent number on the crutch. We were able to cross reference the patent number to a clock maker and now we had identified a previously unknown logo. This is not to say look what I did, it is to show how things happen. Tell me of an experiment you could develop to do the same thing as this serendipidous historical discovery.

    The only hypothesis here is that current methods of investigation here aren't worth didly. I challenge you to prove it. Design an new way to try to find out when a particular clock was made. (experiment) Take 10 years and see what you can learn about clock dating in that time. (results) Then get back to us and tell us what you have learned. (conclusion). Then you will have a scientific answer to your historical question.
     
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  17. new2clocks

    new2clocks Registered User
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    There is nothing wrong at all with questioning things despite giants
    may have established them for a long time.
    I completely agree. There is nothing wrong with challenging findings. I do not believe, however, that John Hubby has stated that his research is complete and final. Although I have not followed John's research into Becker clocks as closely as others have, John's research into other German clocks has been adjusted (with his appreciation) to reflect newly found evidence. As chimeclockfan implied, research into German clocks is ongoing and fluid - not static - as more information becomes available.​
    Yet again - "Research" without decent reference/validation of data given is sleights of
    hands in the first place.
    Again, I agree. However, you are attempting to prove a negative (ironically similar to the "green elephants" metaphor you provided). In this case, the negative is the assumption that John has an inadequate amount of data points beyond observational data. Only John can address this issue. Having said that, I revert back to the fact that scholarship on German clocks is evolving. As more data becomes available, more assumptions can be confirmed or corrected. Unfortunately, a truly scientific approach will most likely never be achieved since a great amount of pertinent data has been lost or destroyed over the years (world wars, acceptable corporate and governmental destruction of "antiquated" records, etc.).​
    Regards.​
     
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  18. claussclocks

    claussclocks Registered User
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    #18 claussclocks, Feb 22, 2020
    Last edited: Feb 22, 2020
    I do not wish to be involved in a useless online fist fight but I do have some comments to make.
    I have met, done business with, and relied on information given to me by John Hubby on some Gustav Becker clocks. I have heard him discuss the research he has done to build and establish his database. At no point has he ever claimed infallibility or absolute authority. I both know and respect him and the work he has done. It is not infallible and he knows that. Any information that will enhance or correct the current body of work would be welcomed by John everyone interested in this topic.

    My first significant question is: Who are you and what are you offering?

    You base the first part of your argument on the fact that you are a "man of science". OK. I hold a masters degree in Microbiology and cell physiology. I consider that science enough to say that if you look at most literature references to medicine it falls under the general category of "Medical Arts". There is a lot of science but it still requires man to practice on human flesh. Not always a sure thing.

    You are quick to discount someone else and their work but have yet to offer anything to advance, prove, or disprove what has been offered by John and others. No doubt there are mistakes and omissions but it is a work still in progress. Not the 10 Commandments written by God's finger.

    Your comment dismissing the chance that John will probably not respond to you has the airs of a challenge and not an invitation to an open dialogue. I feel nothing is to be gained by an intent to denigrate his work and that of others out of hand.

    This message board exists to further our horological experience. We share techniques, new discoveries, general information, and attempt to build a positive global community based on constructive dialogue. Everyone would welcome any positive input you or anyone else can offer to correct, add to, or enhance any resource currently in use. It can be much more advantageous to upgrade a house rather than burn it down and build from scratch. Let's try the upgrade route first.

    DPC
     
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  19. Anvil2k9

    Anvil2k9 Registered User

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    This discussion resp. my initail aim is going nowhere.

    And to be honest - what I gather from the last responses -
    it would seem some of you guys don't know at all how to get a thesis through
    a professional board i.e. have an idea what evidence based research
    is supposed to be.

    Feeling alienated and getting cross with a member who never talked bs here and else,
    trusting blind John's home made unproven figures...well...that also may be a reason
    some of you never got the drift here.

    Therefore I withdraw my question i.e. leaving it to the moderator to delete the whole thread.

    Who cares even in 100 years a GB was made in which decade exactly anyway?

    C' tout, le reste est silence ici.
     
  20. Steven Thornberry

    Steven Thornberry User Administrator
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    I will not delete the thread, but I will close it to additional replies. It has become contentious and somewhat pointless.
     

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